house virtual tour
Virtual tools are being adopted by agents to navigate rules and restrictions. Image – Canva.
  • For the second consecutive spring, Melbourne is in lockdown
  • Private one-on-one inspections are allowed in Sydney
  • Many are utilising technology to navigate the inspection ban

While spring is the traditional peak property selling season, this year is set to be different.

For the second consecutive year, Melbourne is in lockdown, while Sydney is enduring a prolonged one for the first time.

Both jurisdictions have taken a different approach to regulating real estate activity. Private inspections have been banned in Victoria, significantly dampening auction results. This is despite many calls for private one-on-one inspections to resume.

In Sydney, such inspections can occur, resulting in relatively high clearance rates. The stark difference is reinforced by SQM Research data which shows the collapse in Melbourne, while Sydney remains near record levels.

Buying or selling a major life event

Domain CEO Jason Pellegrino said inspections are critical to facilitate the transaction of property, given the incomparable impact a home has on one’s wellbeing and quality of life.

“With 66% of property in Australia owner-occupied we know that primarily the need to buy or sell is driven by a major life event,” he said.

“This need doesn’t go away but simply gets delayed and in that time can put significant stress on those unable to transact.

“Speaking with agents we hear stories of people with mortgages and rents they can’t afford or living conditions that are harmful but are unable to inspect new homes and move with confidence.

Jason Pellegrino, Domain CEO 

“Looking at NSW where one-on-one inspections are being conducted responsibly, we very much welcome the Victorian State Government to reconsider restrictions on house inspection as soon as possible.”

Consumers and agents have turned to tech during lockdowns, with Domain recording an 18% increase in virtual tours during the last four weeks to 29 August 2021 compared to the previous month.

Additionally, last week saw the largest weekly volume of virtual tours so far this year.

“It is encouraging to see adoption by agents and consumers of virtual tools to conduct necessary property transactions … [supporting] people to manage their finances and progress life transitions,” added Mr Pellegrino.

Simon Wood, director of real estate agency Buxton – Bentleigh added they have implemented technologies like Bidtracker and Real Time Agent to facilitate virtual auctions and transactions digitally.

“Real estate in Victoria would not have been able to facilitate a physical contracts signing process under current restrictions without these pivotal technologies,” he added.

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